Have a great shower while saving water and energy with Flow Loop

Lloyd Alter


Flow Loop introduces a new closed loop shower that will bring back one of life’s little pleasures: a long hot wet shower.

Showers use a lot of water and it takes a lot of energy to heat that water, so the trend has been toward low flow shower heads; in much of the world they are the law. Long hot showers are, for many people, a guilty memory.

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Video Intervista Radio Radio


Pubblicato da byNight Roma "live social radio show" su Giovedì 27 luglio 2017

La nostra intervista a Radio Radio in cui parliamo del Drone e delle attività dello studio Sand & Birch.

eco helmet

Folding bike helmet wins James Dyson design award

International prize goes to US designer who was worried about using bike-hire schemes without a helmet


The EcoHelmet. Its honeycomb design gives it strength. Photograph

The EcoHelmet. Its honeycomb design gives it strength. Photograph: Handout

The inventor of a foldable bicycle helmet has won a £30,000 prize to take it towards commercialisation.

The “EcoHelmet” is the brainchild of Isis Shiffer, a 28-year-old designer and bike enthusiast from New York who came up with the idea after she began using city bike-hire schemes but was worried about cycling without a helmet.

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‘Octobot’ Is the First Autonomous Soft Robot

Chris Wiltz

A team led by researchers at Harvard University has produced the first untethered, autonomous, “soft” robot. Dubbed “Octobot,” because of its octopus-inspired design, the robot was created using a combination of 3D printing, molding, and soft lithography and has no rigid parts like a circuit board or battery. The researchers, who published their work in the journal, Nature, this month, hope their proof of concept will lay the foundation for a new generation of soft robots with the flexibility and dexterity to move and operate in tight spaces.

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Bee model could be breakthrough for robot development

Scientists at the University of Sheffield have created a computer model of how bees avoid hitting walls – which could be a breakthrough in the development of autonomous robots.

Researchers from the Department of Computer Science built their computer model to look at how bees use vision to detect the movement of the world around them and avoid crashes.

Bees control their flight using the speed of motion – or optic flow – of the visual world around them, but it is not known how they do this. The only neural circuits so far found in the insect brain can tell the direction of motion, not the speed.

This study suggests how motion-direction detecting circuits could be wired together to also detect motion-speed, which is crucial for controlling bees’ flight.

“Honeybees are excellent navigators and explorers, using vision extensively in these tasks, despite having a brain of only one million neurons,” said Dr Alex Cope, lead researcher on the paper.

“Understanding how bees avoid walls, and what information they can use to navigate, moves us closer to the development of efficient algorithms for navigation and routing – which would greatly enhance the performance of autonomous flying robotics”, he added.

Professor James Marshall, lead investigator on the project, added: “This is the reason why bees are confused by windows – since they are transparent they generate hardly any optic flow as bees approach them.”

Dr Cope and his fellow researchers on the project; Dr Chelsea Sabo, Dr Eleni Vasilaki, Professor Kevin Gurney, and Professor James Marshall, are now using this research to investigate how bees understand which direction they are pointing in and use this knowledge to solve tasks.

Their paper entitled ‘A Model for an Angular Velocity-Tuned Motion Detector Accounting for Deviations in the Corridor-Centering Response of the Bee’ is published in PLOS Computational Biology.

Further information:

The Green Brain project

Prof. James Marshall

Dr Eleni Vasilaki

Prof. Kevin Gurney


Sustainable energy: inside Iceland’s geothermal power plant

In the first of a series, we visit the Hellisheiði plant, which provides 300MW of power – and Reykjavik’s hot water


 Hellisheiði geothermal plant, Iceland. Photograph Pedro Alvarez for the Observer

Hellisheiði geothermal plant, Iceland. Photograph Pedro Alvarez for the Observer

Thanks to its position on a volatile section of the Mid-Atlantic ridge, Iceland is a world leader in the the use of geothermal energy, and of the six geothermal power plants in Iceland, Hellisheiði (pronounced “het-li-shay-thee”) is the newest and largest. Fully operational since 2010, it sits on the mossy slopes of the Hengill volcano in the south-west of the country; a green and placid-looking landscape that belies the turbulent geological activity rumbling beneath it.

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New Artificial Protein Makes it Possible to Manipulate Matter


Researchers have used an artificial protein to assemble a buckyball molecule—opening the door to new methods of nano-engineering.


The dream of nanotechnology is to harness it to control the material world at its most fundamental level—to manipulate matter at the molecular and atomic scale.

It’s a dream that is held by scientists in many fields—medicine, materials research, electronics, computing, and others too numerous to list. The struggle has been in how to actually achieve such a precision control of matter. Sadly, the quantum effects at this level often defeat any such attempts, and have proven difficult to surmount.

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